#1 Farmers. I have a sensitive stomach. It actually seems to be getting worse, but one of the things I can do to combat the reign of pain that my intestines have undertaken is to eat fresh food. Without farmers (and a whole host of other people down the production line), I would have to suffer through the processed, pre-packaged misery that a lot of people in this country call dinner.
#2 Bees. This dovetails with number one because without bees around to pollinate what the farmers are growing, there would be far fewer options in my fruit and veggie arsenal. We went to the Bee-Day festival at the brooklyn botanic gardens last weekend, and it was both informative and depressing to learn about how insanely awesome bees are and how we're losing 30% of the bee population every year.
#3 Cows. Apparently it's mother nature week. I feel strange saying I'm grateful for cows because if I was truly grateful, wouldn't I stop eating them? I don't know. For what it's worth, I feel pretty indebted to these lumbering beasts for everything that they provide. I'm trying my best to only eat or drink products from happy cows, and when I do sit down to a dinner that involves beef, I take a moment to say thank you to the animal that lost it's life. Even writing that seems ridiculous (the cow doesn't want my thanks, it's want to stand in a field and eat grass), but that's where I'm at with my part-time vegetarianism.
#4 Detail oriented people. Last week I took several rolls of film to the developer. I set the rolls of film on the counter, and I said "these (clearly segregated rolls) need to be cross-processed and these (clearly segregated rolls) are regular/normal process." The woman working the desk picked up the film, set it on a different counter and said, "okay, I'll write this up and we'll have it by X day." In my haste to get back to Brooklyn and start painting, I didn't stick around while she wrote up the ticket. A few hours later, I got a phone call asking for verification on which rolls of film I wanted cross-processed. She had written up the order in the exact OPPOSITE way from what I requested. Thankfully someone in the darkroom noticed that the request to cross-process negative 35mm film seemed odd (you usually process slide film, not negative film). The mistake wasn't picked up soon enough to save one roll of film, but the rest of the order was salvaged. In an effort to sugar coat her mistake, the woman kept telling me that the cross-processed 35mm film would look "artsy and funky" when it was printed. Thanks but no thanks. If I wanted artsy and unpredictable, I would have asked for it. So to all the detail oriented people who are good at their jobs: thank you. (my apologies for basically double posting this story. clearly i'm still upset about it!)
#5 My mom's horse, Singer. My mom is a perfectionistic workaholic (sorry mom, it's true). Ever since she purchased Singer, she has been slowly but surely waking up to the fact there aren't an infinite number of tomorrows to save for when the work is done. In her line of business (as is true with just about anything), the work will never be done. There will always be one more graph line to plot, one more briefing to polish, and one more unbalanced supervisor expecting more, more, more. But Singer is forcing my mom to sever the corporate umbilical cord for at least a few hours every week. She goes to visit him after work; she volunteers with the therapy riding lessons that her horse participates in; she has her own lessons twice a week. It's pretty amazing how this animal is changing her routine, and I can't tell you how happy I am that my mom is finally doing something for herself.
*in case you're new to these here awkward lands, every Friday I post a list of 5 things that I'm grateful for (hence the "5 on 5" series title)